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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Strong community relations reduces the culture of fear | Deon Price, Daily Republic

Why would I risk being labeled a snitch by reporting a serious crime to assist an organization that has a history of mistreating citizens in its own community?
That's the question asked in this column by Deon Price, a youth life skills coach in Fairfield, Calif. He writes that the negative stigma of snitching even crops up when he's talking to grade school students about bullying and how to handle schoolyard conflicts. Most students say they won't tell a teacher when someone starts a fight; they consider that snitching.

Price writes:
There is an unwritten code in the urban community that says keep your mouth shut and don’t talk to the authorities. People have a hard time communicating with local law enforcement due to years of mistrust and tension with police officers.
Price explains that the reputation of misconduct by police agencies is one reason for that mentality, as I've also read about in Seattle, my home. He writes:
Incidents like the situations that recently occurred in Stockton and Oakland involving police shootings are a good example of why some police departments have a deteriorating relationship with the communities they serve. 
But, he writes, his community is taking strides to change things. I keep hearing that's also happening in Seattle. I hope so.

Price concludes:
A person who takes a risks for a righteous cause should be honored, not threatened. ...
As community policing becomes more prevalent and we continue to have healthy dialogue between local leadership and the public, I am confident that we can eliminate this culture of fear.
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